The 22nd Annual Society for Animation Studies Conference

Progress Report - 4 months to go!

A little update on planning:

Reminder that early bird registration is available to book online now, and can be done via credit card or invoice.

Accommodation bookings are coming along. The listed hotels and apartments rates have been negotiated for us by the Edinburgh Convention Bureau. There are hundreds of B&Bs in Edinburgh as well as other hotels, but all of the listed ones are within close walking distance of the Art College venue. They are all pretty convenient, though the Novotel and Premier Inn are literally next door to the venue!

Abstracts and bio's are gradually being uploaded as confirmations and info come in, and in the next month I hope to be getting panels together.

The social event booking for Saturday night is in hand and the Friday evening plans (shh still a secret) are looking good...

Closer to the event I'll post a list of recommended nearby bars and restaurants...I am researching them for you (its a hard life ;-)

Keep those registrations coming and remember to email me with your queries at:

See you soon!

Alison Loader

“We’re Asian, More Expected of Us!” Representation, The Model Minority and Whiteness on King of the Hill

For y
ears the only Asian American family on prime time, was a cartoon. The Souphanousinphones were regular characters in King of the Hill, which was, until its cancellation last year, the second longest running prime time animated sitcom after The Simpsons. As neighbours and rivals to the titular Hill family, the Souphanousinphones contributed to overarching themes of whiteness and class anxiety in the American South. Various episodes explored the Asian American experience of difference and assimilation, and the myth of the Model Minority. King of the Hill defied and perpetuated traditional stereotypes and offered the rare spectacle of Asian racial grief. These representations may have been two-dimensional but only because they were drawn that way.

Biographical statement: Alison Reiko Loader is an animation filmmaker, instructor and graduate student at Concordia University, Canada. Beginning with her first film, Showa Shinzan, produced by the National Film Board of Canada in 2002, her work has explored identity, race and cultural heritage. Her current research interests in animated installation, stereoscopy and anamorphosis constitute more formal approaches to representation and perception. Nevertheless she can still enjoy a good cartoon.

Lynne Perras

The Golden Ages of Animation: Diverse Origins in Canada and the U.S.

his paper will compare and contrast the origins of animation in Canada and the U.S. From a historical and cultural perspective, I will examine the development of animation in Canada and the U.S., and compare the influences that have created the industries that both nations currently enjoy. It will be seen that national psychology, politics, and governmental presence all played a significant role in determining the kinds of animation found in Canada and the U.S. in the first half of the twentieth century. Interestingly enough, these same influences continue to impact the animation of both countries even today.

Biographical statement:
Lynne Perras teaches in Canadian Studies in the Faculty of Communication and Culture at the University of Calgary. Her research areas are Canadian animation, Canadian humour, and hockey history and culture in Canada. She is also the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs in the Undergraduate Programs Office.

Jeff Marker

“I don’t know anything about it”: Waltz With Bashir and Slaughterhouse-Five

Both Wa
ltz With Bashir and Slaughterhouse-Five dramatize the conflict between the artist’s compulsion to tell the story and his psychological need to repress the traumatic memories which inspire the story. Waltz With Bashir uses animation to delay our confrontation with the narrator’s brutal combat memories, just as Slaughterhouse-Five uses a science fiction narrative to accomplish similar effects. Waltz With Bashir expands the applications of animation by combining the documentary and animated forms, but it also innovates through its use of animation as a narrative strategy.

Biographical statement: Jeff Marker earned a doctorate in Comparative Literature from the University of Georgia. He currently teaches film and literature at Gainesville State College. While he is more interested in researching the psychological experience of film and literature than mastering the canon of a particular national cinema or genre, he has begun to focus on animation history as a research and teaching interest. This paper capitalizes on his areas of interest and expertise and exemplifies the comparative nature of his work.

Nadezhda Marinchevska


fter the political changes in 1989 the social satire and the humorous miniature seem no longer to be the main artistic models in the Bulgarian animated films. The paper will focus on the Bulgarian animation’s specific ways to “globalize” its narrative and styles in the conditions of poor funding and practically non-existing distribution. Modernistic patterns had suffered a broken growth in Bulgaria (as in most of the ex-socialist countries). In spite of that the new generations give fresh and sharp tribute to the avant-garde stylistics, renewing the suggestions of highly symbolic film language to look at a situation of crisis and transition.

Biographical statement:
Prof. Nadezhda Marinchevska, PhD, is head of “Screen arts” department in the Institute for Art Studies in Sofia. She teaches the classes “Animation Theory and History” and “Scriptwriting for Animation” in the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts and is an invited lecturer in the New Bulgarian University. Author of two books: “Bulgarian Animation 1915-1995”, Colibri, Sofia, 2001 (366 p.) and “Frames of Imagination. Aesthetics of animation techniques”, Titra, Sofia, 2005, (296 p.). She is also an author in the collective publication “Bulgarian cinema. Encyclopedia”, Titra, Sofia, 2000 (animation section), ed. Alexander Yanakiev. In 2006 she won the film theory award of the Union of Bulgarian Film Makers.

‘Urbanimation’: representations of the city in animation

Preconstituted panel

In what ways can animation address the complex and multifaceted relationships we have with cities and urban spaces in the 21st century? The panel examines animated representations of the city and urban life through a variety of lenses – the city as dystopia, as imagined community, as pre- and post-revolutionary space, as a site for memory and personal journey. By exploring these topics across three very different cultural contexts, the richness and diversity of urban mediation, and the role animation plays in it, will be highlighted.

Panellists: Paul Ward (chair), Van Norris, Caroline Ruddell, Bella Honess Roe
(see individual entries for details on each presentation)

Van Norris

In the City: Animating 21st Century Britain
(preconstituted panel: ‘Urbanimation’: representations of the city in animation)

In the po
st-The Office afterglow public-service channel BBC3 saw comedy as part of the "consistently innovative and risk-taking programming" specified in their remit. The show embodied a tone which played into criticisms that the channel was pandering to an increasingly populist agenda. It also played into concerns about imagined community and maintained a narrative that actualises comedy's relationship with society which extends all the way back to Henri Bergson. This paper will frame this embrace of animation/comedy against institutional concerns and assess Monkey Dust as being emblematic of this wave of early 21st century UK mainstream TV animation.

Biographical statement:
Van Norris teaches in the School of Creative Arts, Film and Media at the University of Portsmouth, UK. His research interests include: American and British graphic narrative form; Classical and Post-Classical Hollywood Animation and British Cinema and Television Animation, British and American comedy form, sitcom and stand up comedy. He is currently completing his PhD on British television animation. Van has presented his research at numerous conferences including the Society for Animation Studies, the Popular Culture Association and the University of Salford’s Comedy Matters conference. He has published in animation: an interdisciplinary journal and Animation Studies, as well as anthologies on television science fiction, animation and cinematic surrealism. Van is an Editorial Board member for Animation Studies.

Caroline Ruddell

Urban Nightmares: Anime City Spaces
(preconstituted panel: ‘Urbanimation’: representations of the city in animation)

Abstract: This paper will chart some of the prominent tropes in the representation of the city in anime. Sci-fi, fantasy and even noir generic conventions are used to channel the representation of the city into an imposing presence. The paper seeks to understand the pleasures available for viewers when cities are often ‘rewritten’ (Staiger, 1999: 97) or ‘imagined’ (Orbaugh, 2006: 81) and cityscapes, or lines, redrawn. The paper also considers how this relates to theoretical models of spectatorship and the pleasures animated city spaces might hold for viewers outside the context of Japan.

Biographical statement:
Dr Caroline Ruddell teaches at St. Mary’s University College, UK, in the areas of animation, popular culture and identity, North American cinema, and critical methodologies. Caroline's research interests are in animation and representations of identity and subjectivity. She has published on the representation of witchcraft in popular television, fissured identity in film, and on anime. Her current research focuses on anime aesthetics and spectatorship in relation to issues of movement, space and the animated ‘line’. Caroline is a member of the Editorial Boards for Animation Studies (the Society for Animation Studies online peer reviewed journal) and Watcher Junior: The Undergraduate Journal of Buffy Studies. Caroline is also Reviews Editor for animation: an interdisciplinary journal, published by Sage.

Paul Ward

“Never forget who you are and where you are from”: Persepolis as urban memoir (preconstituted panel: ‘Urbanimation’: representations of the city in animation)

his paper will examine how Persepolis (2007) represents urban locations and cityscapes, intimately linking them to the deeply personal story – the memoir – of the protagonist Marjane Satrapi. Cities can often be seen as ‘personalities’, as anthropomorphically-charged spaces that come to stand for broader aspects of cultural (and national) identity. The paper will examine the notion of ‘autobiogeography’ and de Certeau’s (1984) work on how individuals navigate themselves physically, psychically and politically through urban space. Persepolis explores these topics via the graphic novel-inspired aesthetics of the animated film, offering a potent combination of popular culture, personal memory and urban history.

Biographical statement:
Paul Ward is a Principal Lecturer in the School of Media at the Arts University College at Bournemouth, UK. He teaches on the BA (Hons) Animation Production course and contributes to a cross-disciplinary MA course. His research interests are in the fields of animation and documentary film and television. Published work includes articles for the journals animation: an interdisciplinary journal, Animation Journal, and the Historical Journal for Film, Radio and Television, as well as numerous anthology essays. Paul is also the author of Documentary: The Margins of Reality (Wallflower Press, 2005) and TV Genres: Animation (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming; co-authored with Nichola Dobson). He serves on the Editorial Boards of animation: an interdisciplinary journal and Animation Studies and is a member of the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council Peer Review College with special interest in animation and documentary research proposals. Paul is the current President of the Society for Animation Studies.

Bella Honess Roe

Indexing a Dystopian Future in Metropia
(preconstituted panel: ‘Urbanimation’: representations of the city in animation)

This p
aper explores the representation of a futuristic dystopian Europe in the sci-fi animated thriller Metropia (Tarik Saleh, 2009). The film’s intriguing animation style, which is based on photographic images, will be used as a basis for examining questions of indexicality and realism in animation by drawing a connection between the corrupted index and Metropia’s themes regarding the alienation of the body from the urban environment.

Biographical statement:
Bella Honess Roe is a lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Surrey. She recently completed her PhD on animated documentaries at the University of Southern California. The topic of this paper extends ideas from her doctoral thesis regarding indexicality and the relationship between animation and reality. She has presented her work at many conferences in the US and UK (including SAS 2008 and 2009, Visible Evidence 2008 and 2009, SCMS 2005/2007/2008 and Screen 2006/2007). She contributes book and DVD reviews to Film International and animation: an interdisciplinary journal and has had essays published in the Journal of British Cinema and Television and Falling in Love Again, an edited collection published by I.B. Tauris. She has a chapter forthcoming on Disney’s wartime documentaries in an edited collection on that topic and a journal article on the animated interviews made by Bob Sabiston.

At Death’s Insistence: Theorising Animation and Death

Preconstituted panel
The papers on this panel will explore and elaborate key theoretical approaches to animation in terms of death.

Death is a subject which has not only never had a panel dedicated to it at SAS conferences (as far as research reveals), it has not even had more than a few papers dedicated to it at them. Yet this subject, so foregrounded in and by not only cinema but Western culture as to form one of the two privileged foci of both, is likewise, it will be claimed, privileged by animation.

Panellists: Alan Cholodenko (chair), Janeann Dill, Michael Dow, Freida Riggs (see individual entries for details on each presentation).

Janeann Dill

An Eclipsed Birth Meets An Eclipsed Death
(preconstituted panel: At Death’s Insistence: Theorising Animation and Death)

t: Taking inspiration from George Bataille’s statement, ‘A dictionary begins when it no longer gives the meaning of words, but their tasks’, this paper is a questioning look at the early birth and seeming death of critical histories in experimental animation. Insisting upon the persistence of experimental animation as a singular aesthetic, this scholar distinguishes the art form while simultaneously reaching across the disciplines of art history, cinema history and philosophical inquiry. While this paper does not engage in an analysis of Bataille, its author is inspired by the quote.

Biographical statment:
Founder-Director of a virtual Think Tank, the Institute for Interdisciplinary Art and Creative Intelligence, Janeann Dill reaches across the creative disciplines to inhabit a critical landscape at a four-point intersect of experimental animation, cinema, fine art, and philosophy ( Dr. Dill’s global research examines experimental animation as an inherently interdisciplinary and neo-aesthetic experimental fine arts practice per se. Imbuing a praxis in experimental animation with a praxis in painting and drawing, her scholarship and research largely takes its critical cues from Eisenstein, Eggeling, Krauss, Moritz, Deleuze and Heidegger. In doing so, she tentatively joins thought to the unthought

Michael Dow

It’s Raining Coyotes: Death and/in the Chase
(preconstituted panel: At Death’s Insistence: Theorising Animation and Death)

Abstract: In surveying a number of American cartoons during the post-World War II era, this paper seeks to demonstrate the ways in which popular animation engages in an aporetical uncertainty, focusing primarily on the investiture of sapience into the cartoon character, the existential connotations of the chase, and the “death confrontation” signified by the blackout gag. The motifs of acknowledgment and “deceleration” in the cartoons of the era will be addressed: how does this phenomenology of the personified form produce this effect? How is the acknowledgment of a “life/death” state enacted, and what are its implications for post-World War II culture?

Biographical statement:
Michael Vincent Dow is currently completing his dissertation, “The Death of the Chase: The Social Psychology of the Post-World War II American Animated Cartoon” at New York University. He teaches film and animation studies at Northeastern University in Boston.
His paper is an extension of his dissertation, which focuses on American cartoons as reflection of the postwar social condition.

Freida Riggs

The Lifeworld of Wall-E: A New Generation
(preconstituted panel: At Death’s Insistence: Theorising Animation and Death)

Abstract: Birth and death – crucial components of the social – are all turned upside down in Wall-E. An examination of this film through Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology, especially his characterisation of generativity and ‘lifeworld’ with their focus on life and death – generation – will demonstrate clearly how the medium of animation is best suited to grasp the poignancy of a character locked in a dead world, the tenderness of the love between binoculars on a box and an egg, the degradation of humanity when free will is denied it and the optimism of the rebirth of our planet.

Biographical statement: I took my PhD at the University of Sydney in 2002. My thesis, entitled ‘The Community of Film’, investigated the analysis of live action film and animation through the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl. My essay, ‘The Infinite Quest: Husserl, Bakshi, the Rotoscope and the Ring’, is published in The Illusion of Life 2: More Essays on Animation, ed. Alan Cholodenko, 2007. The paper I propose for this conference is an extension of this work.

Alan Cholodenko

(The) Death (of) the Animator, or: The Felicity of Felix, Part III: Death and the Death of Death
(preconstituted panel: At Death’s Insistence: Theorising Animation and Death)

paper will elaborate animation’s centrality to contemporary culture, the paramount nature of animation’s relation to the uncanny in that centrality, and the profound implications of that centrality for the contemporary world and subject. To that end it will foreground the assertions of animation theorist Taihei Imamura in 1948 and philosopher Slavoj Žižek in 1991 of the relevance of the return of the dead for contemporary culture, then turn to Jean Baudrillard for a larger vision of the (lifedead) matter.

Biographical statement:
The paper I propose is part 3 of the paper whose first part I presented at the 2007 Animated Dialogues Conference in Melbourne and second part at the 2007 SAS conference at Portland. It extends my theorizing in those parts of the relation of animation to death, as well extends that theorizing in my Introductions to The Illusion of Life and The Illusion of Life 2 and in a number of my articles.

Helen Jackson

Not just for kids: engaging an online adult audience with animation

ct: Recent work on “The Lost Book” suggests that interactive, cross-artform work may be successful in engaging adults with animation. “The Lost Book” web series involved animation, literature and music. The six-part story was written by visitors to the website. Nearly 60% of participants who expressed an opinion, all over 16, felt the project had made them more interested in watching animation online or at the cinema. This paper will present audience feedback on “The Lost Book”. The aim is to stimulate discussion about the possible benefits of cross-artform projects and/or Web 2.0 in increasing the overall adult audience for animation.

Biographical statement:
Helen Jackson is a director at Binary Fable, an award-winning young animation studio based in Edinburgh. Binary Fable specialises in 3D CGI animation – in particular using digital media platforms to bring animated storytelling to adult audiences. Another focus for Binary Fable is partnership and collaboration – with other creative organisations, across different art forms and even with the audience. Helen is very interested in how audiences interact with film, digital media and animation. She is on the organising committee for the Edinburgh International Film Audiences Conference, a bi-annual event most recently held in March 2009.

Hee Holmen

Animation as New Media: or Ontological Quest for Animation Media Epistemology

In the h
yped world of New Media, animation technologies are the nuts and bolts of digital arts. The changes brought by digital technology forces anyone involved to reconsider the fundamental question, in my opinion, that never got a clear answer: what is animation and what is New Media? I believe that ontological questions about animation have been largely over-shadowed by its technology. If one separates animation media and animation technology, what would define animation media? In this paper, I wish to examine the historical view that defined animation media, and its relation with New Media.

Biographical statement:
Hee Holmen is an artist-researcher in animation media, and has a MFA from California Institute of the Arts, Experimental Animation, and the second MA from Film Science at Norwegian Technical University. Holmen has been teaching universities in Norway, USA, and Denmark, and currently teaches computer animation at IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Holmen's present research project is Digital Comix, evolution of comics and animation as New Media.

Harvey Deneroff and Victoria Deneroff

Crossing Boundaries: Communities of Practice in Animation and Live-Action Filmmaking

his paper uses the social practice theory to examine historical barriers faced by live-action filmmakers attempting to go into animation, and how these barriers have been increasingly breached in recent years due to the introduction of digital technologies. In particular, the authors will use the theory of communities of practice first enunciated by Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger in 1991, which, according to Wenger, involves the study of “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.”

Biographical statements: Harvey Deneroff, a Professor of Animation at SCAD-Atlanta, has a special interest in labor-management issues, including the history of animation unions. The first editor of Animation Magazine and Animation World Magazine, he edited and published The Animation Report, and his writings have appeared in Film History, The Hollywood Reporter, Animatoon, Sight and Sound, and in several books. He wrote The Art of Anastasia (1997) and helped Fred Ladd write Astro Boy and Anime Come to the Americas (2008). He was Festival Director of the Week With the Masters Animation Celebration, in India, organized the Ojai Animation Conference, and founded SAS in 1987.

Victoria Deneroff is an Assistant Professor of Middle Grades Education at Georgia College & State University, in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she heads the M.A.T. Program in Middle Grades Education in Mathematics and Science. She earned her PhD in Urban Schooling at UCLA, focusing on anthropology of education. Her research interest is the development and application of social practice theory to increase understanding of the work of teachers and animation artists. She has presented her research at numerous national conferences from 2001 through the present, including the American Educational Research Association and the National Association of Research in Science Teaching.

Steve Weymouth

Utilizing investigations in neuroscience to aid teaching first-time animation students

: As a teacher of animation to first-time animation students, I am familiar with a lack of ability in many of them to adequately evaluate their early attempts at animation - they seem ‘blind’ to ‘bad animation’. Much time is needed in order to develop and improve new animation skills and this has caused some to lose interest in the discipline. Utilizing research from neuroscience and related fields, I have introduced an approach that helps the student ‘see’ their animation exercises with a ‘heightened visual awareness’. The approach has provided good results with greater and accelerated development of early animation skills.

Biographical statement:
Steve Weymouth has been teaching 3D CGI animation and modelling within Media Arts undergraduate and post graduate degrees at the College of Fine Arts, UNSW in Sydney Australia for the past seven years. He has expanded the area of 3D CGI animation within the curricula and written many new courses charting clear pathways for the interested student, he has a particular interest in introducing 3D CGI to first-time students.
Steve builds on his previous industry experience that includes many years of freelance and commercial work as a 3D CGI artist and employment at the Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. He holds a Masters of 3D Computer Aided Graphical Technology Applications (CAGTA) gained at Teesside University in the UK.

Tom Klein


Walt Disney and Walter Lantz both endured career setbacks as producers of the same early American cartoon series, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. In the case of Disney, his bold, contentious break from the Oswald series defined his visionary zeal. And with Walter Lantz, the gradual separation from Oswald that he arranged with the consent of Universal defined his more genial and conservative approach. Yet in each case, despite their contrasting styles, these trials prepared them and led them to their ultimate success with subsequent cartoons, notably the ones they each created next: Mickey Mouse and Woody Woodpecker.

Biographical statement: Tom Klein is an Assistant Professor at Loyola Marymount University, in Los Angeles. He is formerly the Animation Director of Vivendi-Universal’s educational software division. While a graduate student at UCLA School of Film and Television, he catalogued the Walter Lantz Archive, and has since remained active as a scholar and researcher of Lantz studio animation.

Rebecca Coyle

AUDIOMATION: Animation Film Music in the Brave New Era

of animation visual styles, industrial processes and histories are well advanced, but the contribution of music to animation film is still often marginalized, forgotten or trivialised. This paper provides a brief survey of the field of animation film music analysis and approaches to research. Critical engagement with the industrial practices, texts and auteurial forms of animation film music has barely caught up with experimental historical precedents, much less the current era of converged animation productions. The paper argues that animation music studies must evolve with the form to engage with animated forms of the future.

Biographical Statement: Dr Rebecca Coyle is Director of Research for the School of Arts and Social Sciences and teaches in the Media Program at Southern Cross University, Australia. Her Drawn to Sound: Animation Film Music and Sonicity will be published by Equinox (UK) in 2009, and has recently edited a special issue of Animation Journal (published 2009) on sound in animation film and television. She has edited two anthologies on Australian cinema soundtracks, Screen Scores (Allen & Unwin, 1998) and Reel Tracks (John Libbey, 2005), and is currently researching film music production within an Australian Research Council funded project.

Suzanne Buchan

Blending Media: Expanding Animation in Contemporary and Interdisciplinary Research Fields

Animation has long had a constitutive role in disseminating ideologies with a mind to shaping public attitudes and is increasingly ubiquitous in both moving image culture and working environments. The notion of blending media (a creative form of convergence) is one that has always been a predominant definition of animation operating outside conventional hegemonic commercial entertainment canons, and materially defined and redefined through established media and art forms. The paper outlines the intellectual genesis of the 'Pervasive Animation' collective interdisciplinary research programme that explores its use in fine art practice, design, architecture and the sciences.

Biographical statement:
Suzanne Buchan is Professor of Animation Aesthetics and Director of the Animation Research Centre at the University for the Creative Arts, UK, and Founding Editor of animation: an interdisciplinary journal (Sage). Her research aims to embed animation theory in philosophical, scientific, architectural, art economical and spatio-political discourses. The Quay Brothers: Into the Metaphysical Playroom is currently in production, and she is developing an AFI Film Reader of new animation theory. She was a founding member of the Fantoche International Animation Film Festival, Switzerland and its Co-Director between 1995–2003. She has been a guest professor, exhibition curator, festival advisor and juror internationally.

Amy Ratelle

An analysis of the significance of human-animal conflict in Princess Mononoke

incess Mononoke (Hiyao Miyazaki, 1997) is a complex film in which history and mythology brush uncomfortably against one another. Set in feudal Japan, it ostensibly chronicles the ongoing battle between industrial progress and nature. On closer inspection, however, the film is far more ambivalent. This paper investigates Miyazaki’s portrayal of the antagonistic relationship between the humans in Irontown and the animal gods who live in and guard the nearby forest. Key scenes of the film will be examined in terms of the convergence of cultural and economic factors contributing to the ongoing war between humans and animals, and how the ambiguous ending of the film undermines specifically Western notions of the nature of progress.

Biographical statement:
AMY RATELLE is currently a PhD candidate of the Joint Programme in Communication and Culture at York University and Ryerson University. Her dissertation focuses on animal issues and animality in children's literature, film and television. She holds a BFA in Film Studies from Ryerson University and a MA in Film Studies from Carleton University.

Dan North

Bunraku’s Exploded View of Performance

The pu
ppet represents a site of paradoxes that invite reflection upon the nature of performance and embodiment; puppets occupy a liminal space between life and death, motion and stasis, an interface between actor and character, between text and audience. With bunraku as its case study I will argue that puppets offer an “exploded view” diagram of performance, separating out the constituent parts of voice, body, actor and mechanism to allow a clearer view of how formal components are used to construct complete performances and, by allegorical extension, human subjects.

Biographical statement: My research has previously examined the history and aesthetics of special effects in cinema, most extensively in my recent monograph, Performing Illusions: Cinema, Special Effects and the Virtual Actor (Wallflower Press, 2008). I am currently undertaking a study of puppetry and film, exploring the uses and representation of puppets onscreen. This will incorporate theories of performance borrowed from studies of theatrical puppetry, and a historical and formal account of marionettes, animatronics, motion-capture and other modes of “artificial performance”, with the aim of producing a model for the analysis of puppetry as a key component of film aesthetics within and beyond the field of animation.

Erwin Feyersinger

Animation and Augmented Reality

e term Augmented Reality describes a combination of the real world with virtual objects in real time. Accordingly, it is a combination of reality with animation. Artistic and practical applications of AR are becoming widespread, for example: Madonna performing live with the animated band Gorillaz; information displayed in front of the eyes of engineers, soldiers, or surgeons; or virtual creatures interacting with live images of the video gamer’s living room. Animation Studies offers a variety of perspectives to theorize this phenomenon. This paper will specifically address the broad spectrum of animation styles, which can be used in applications of AR.

Biographical statement:
Erwin Feyersinger is currently finishing his doctoral thesis at the University of Innsbruck in the Department of American Studies. The thesis is titled Transgressive Phenomena in Animated Films and Television Series. His research is concerned with animation studies as well as transmedial theories, and relies mainly on narratological, poetic, semiotic, and cognitive frameworks. His academic background comprises linguistics as well as film and literary theory. He is a member of the editorial board of Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal and a member of SAS.
The proposed paper will bridge my doctoral thesis and the research I will start after its imminent completion. My thesis is concerned with (ontological) transgressions and transformations in animation, which both play a crucial role in augmented reality. My research at the time of the conference will be concerned with animation outside of its traditional formats and contexts (i.e. cinemas, television sets, and, more recently, computer screens). The proposed topic complies both with the focus of the conference on the evolution of animation (as it is a new area of application) and on convergence (in this case, the convergence of animation and reality).

James Snazell

The Experimental Cross-Over

paper I want to present will look at the relationship, by way of convergence and distinction, between non-commercial abstract experimental animation and what can be described as animation/motion graphics done for commercial purposes and which can be seen from an angle of abstract animation. With these two sides facilitating each other, with the development of models of working and thinking that fail to recognise such a polarity. Hopefully this paper will raise discussion of an analysis of how far this evolution is possible and what the development of those working models are and what they can be. The paper will also look to develop discussion over whether such a relationship hasn’t changed in the sense of whether there has always been a distinct relationship and cross-over between commercial and non-commercial animation.

Biographical statement:
As an animator I am as often influenced or intrigued by a piece of motion graphic/animation that I have seen on TV/Film as part of an advert, TV ident, or intro for a Film or TV programme and done for commercial purposes. As I am influenced or intrigued by seeing experimental animation done for non-commercial purposes. An aspect of my research agenda and experience is the way in which abstract experimental animation and film including motion graphics relates to and crosses over with media seen in popular culture.

Martina Bramkamp

Expanded Cinema in animation

Abstract: This paper will discuss and debate, through an innovative range of undergraduate student projects, ways in which Expanded Cinema has proved a valuable tool in the crafting, editing, presenting, reviewing, and remaking of moving image with particular focus on animation in its physical, virtual and hybrid forms. ‘Live’ projects - collaborations with industry clients and employers - have become a core component of the curriculum. Such projects create opportunities to work in a ‘real’ professional context and provide an environment of flexibility and innovation, which challenges and facilitates experimental work. This co-operative participation reflects the essence of how we support the potential for testing, trashing and refashioning moving image in the spirit of Expanded Cinema.

Biographical statement:
Martina Bramkamp studied Communication Design and Animation in Germany before graduating from the Royal College of Art with an MA in Animation. She lives in London and is a Senior Lecturer on the BA Illustration/Animation course at Kingston University and the BA and FdA Animation courses at the London College of Communication.
Martina works in commercial film making as a freelance animator and storyboard artist, and has exhibited her illustration work, moving image installations, photography and sculptures in Britain and Germany.

Jessica Hemmings

Textile & Animation Theory: Who Needs It?

paper considers the development of critical writing about textiles and animation as disciplines that share a common feature of residing in the shadow of disciplines (fashion and film) with established histories of critical writing and theorisation. The pressure for textile theory to ‘borrow’ or ‘make do’ with scraps of fashion theory it can appropriate does a disservice to unique and particular aspects that could benefit from development within textile writing. This paper will attempt a comparison with the field of animation in the hope that new approaches to critical inquiry can be discovered. It will consider how disciplines that use craft-based techniques benefit from critical writing. In particular, the role of fiction will be explored as an alternative tool for critical writing that may prove useful for both textiles and animation.

Biographical statement:
Jessica Hemmings writes about textiles. She also writes about fiction that contains textiles, materials that remind us of textiles and other things, as long as they are interesting. She studied Textile Design at the Rhode Island School of Design, Comparative Literature (Africa/Asia) at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies and wrote her PhD on textiles in Zimbabwean fiction at the University of Edinburgh. Jessica edited In the Loop: Knitting Now published by Black Dog (2010) and is currently Associate Director of the Centre for Visual and Cultural Studies at the Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland.

María Lorenzo Hernández

Morel_Morello_Morella: The Metamorphoses of Adolfo Bioy Casares’ Invention in a (Re)Animated Universe

This paper proposes Adolfo Bioy Casares’ influential novella La invención de Morel (Morel’s Invention 1940), generally regarded as a metaphor of cinema, as fundamentally a singular metaphor of animation. Moreover, the paper will connect the novel with H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr Moreau (1896) and Anthony Lucas’ animated film The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello (2005), focusing on their fascination with the re-fabrication of nature. The paper proposes the special association between animation and invention and argues and demonstrates a critical idea for animation studies: (re)animation is the seminal subject of fiction.

Biographical statement:
María Lorenzo Hernández teaches animation at the Department of Design, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (Spain). In 2006 she obtained her PhD in Fine Arts. She presented papers at the 19th SAS Conference in Portland (2007) the National PCA/ACA Conference in San Francisco (2008), and the 21st SAS Conference in Atlanta (2009). The current paper continues her line of research connecting literature and animation that began with her ‘Visions of a Future Past. Ulysses 31, a Televised Re-interpretation of Homer’s Classic Myth’, published in Animation Studies, the SAS e-journal. She is also an animation filmmaker.

Kirsten Thompson

“Liquid Color in Animation: Chromatic Paradoxes of Form and Abstraction”

arrival of subtractive color processes like Technicolor (II-IV) transformed animation, with color becoming central to animation’s kinesthetic and sensual appeal. Color attractions functioned as spectacles that offered product differentiation, affective appeal and perceptual play. This paper will examine color aesthetics and philosophy in relation to transformation sequences in Bottles (Ising, 1941, MGM), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and The Worm Turns (Sharpsteen, 1937), amongst others, in which “liquid color” in flasks, bottles, test-tubes and bubbles provide temporary physical (and narrative) forms for color functioning as hallucinogenic or magical.

Biographical statement:
Dr. Kirsten Moana Thompson is an Associate Professor and Director of the Film Studies Program in the Department of English at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She is the author of Apocalyptic Dread: American Film at the Turn of the Millennium (SUNY, 2007), and Crime Films; Investigating the Scene (Wallflower, 2007); as well as essays on a variety of topics in classical American animation, including Disney, Warner Bros, and animated comedy. Her new project examines the history of color aesthetics and production processes in classical American animation.

Richard Stamp

Lines of convergence: the rhetoric, materiality and disciplinarity of the line in defining ‘animation’

lthough definitions of animation begin from an affirmation of its diversity, the rhetorical force of the dominant definitional tropes of ‘line’ and ‘drawing’ raises the problem of material specificity. This is what Norman McLaren does in his reflections on his own (canonical) ‘definition’ of animation as ‘not the art of drawings that move but the art of movements that are drawn’, insofar as ‘static objects, puppets and human beings can all be animated without drawings…’ This paper will argue that the rhetorical effects of ‘the line’ recur, unacknowledged and problematically, within recent quasi-ontological definitions of animation as the ‘animatic’.

Biographical statement:
Richard Stamp teaches cultural studies, film and philosophy at Bath Spa University. He is interested in ‘theorising’ animation in ways that combine an attention to the diverse materiality of animated media and the (inter)disciplinary formations of ‘animation studies’. The present paper is part of a project on ‘thinking through’ animation that takes issue both with dominant trends in ‘animatic’ theory and with recent so-called ‘pragmatic’ rejections of it. He is one of the editors of Film-Philosophy, an Open Humanities e-journal, and has recently co-edited work on Slavoj Zizek and Jacques Rancière.

Brian Fagence

Animation scriptwriting and transmedia tension.

t: While the worlds created through mainstream animation share similar orthodox discourses as traditional live action narratives, animation’s propensity for exaggeration often attempts to open or at least renegotiate the meanings formed. This paper will discuss the distinctiveness of the animated narrative through an examination of the script development for the animation short, Fallow as it forms amid a transmedia storyworld; exploring the narrative tensions of creating a transmedia universe from the perspective of the scriptwriter of animation, and how we might explore story and script as it relates to animation where expectation and the assurance of authenticity is questioned.

Biographical statement: Brian Fagence is a lecturer of Critical Studies for Animation, and Animation Scriptwriting in the Division of Animation at the Cardiff School of Creative Industries University of Glamorgan. He has lectured for ten years in moving image studies with a focus on theoretical approaches to animation and their practical integration.
He is a storyteller and scriptwriter and his current PhD research into the distinctiveness of the animated narrative, explores how story and script engages with animation, its production and its transmedia development.

Colleen Montgomery

Etch-a-Sketching in 3D: Technological Optimization and Technophobia in Pixar’s Toy Story and Monsters Inc.

popularity and ubiquity of digital animation has radically altered contemporary animated filmmaking/viewing practices. Pixar is a crucial nodal point in this reimaging of the animated film. Yet inasmuch as it represents a technological optimization of digital animation, Pixar simultaneously inscribes within its narratives a critique of the technological retooling of labour and production. This paper will discuss how Toy Story (John Lasseter, 1995) and Monsters Inc. (Pete Docter, 2001) illustrate this duality, articulating both a fear of the technological assimilation of individual labour and a nostalgia for archaic/obsolete technologies.

Biographical statement:
Colleen Montgomery is an MA candidate at the University of British Columbia currently completing her thesis on Pixar, vocal performance and intertextuality: “Pixarticulation: The Voice in Contemporary Animation.” Her primary research interests lie in Disney, Pixar and animation studies, as well as in translation studies. Recent publications include “Post Soviet Freakonomics: Balabanov’s Dead Men and Heritage Porn” in Cinephile 5.1, with forthcoming work to appear in Paradoxa 22.

Richard Leskosky

Insomniac Nightmares

distinct subgenre of Hollywood theatrical animated shorts concerns itself specifically with sleep, or more properly speaking, the act of sleeping or trying to sleep. In essence in these films, a character tries to sleep and someone or something repeatedly stymies that endeavor. One, two, or three character types may be involved the would-be sleeper, an interrupter who deliberately or accidentally awakens him, and one who attempts to keep the first asleep. This presentation will explore this subgenre employing a highly modified Proppian structural analysis I have used in analyzing other animated sub-genres at previous SAS conferences and in print.

Biographical statement:
Richard J. Leskosky is the Academic Programs Coordinator for the Department of Media and Cinema Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a past president of the Society for Animation Studies. He studies pre-cinematic animation devices, animation patents, and animated film genres, and has presented papers in all these areas at previous SAS conferences. He is currently working on a volume on animated film genres.

Aimée Mollaghan

The Role of the Minimalist Musical Aesthetic in the Line Films of Norman McLaren

e role of music in visual music films has, in general, been neglected when analysing visual music textually and if discussed it has been examined predominantly from the academic vantage points of art and avant-garde film theory. To adequately scrutinise these texts I feel it is essential to look at them not only in terms of their existence as ‘moving pictures’ but that equal weight be accorded to their aural aspect and that they should be considered in terms of specifically musical parameters. This paper will examine Norman McLaren’s three Line films Lines Vertical (1960), Lines Horizontal (1962) and Lines Vertical (1965) from a musical perspective. McLaren claimed that the structure of these films was influenced by the structure of Eastern music and therefore I would posit that the orchestration of McLaren’s minimalist images has a parallel in American minimalist music of the 1960s.

Biographical statement: Aimée Mollaghan is currently researching a PhD on the subject of the visual music film in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies in Glasgow University. She has a BA in Film and Video from University of Wales, Newport/IFSW and an MPhil in 2D/3D Motion Graphics from Glasgow School of Art. This paper fits into her wider interest in the role of sound in experimental film and animation. She has directed short films and documentaries and worked as a freelance sound recordist and animator.

Deborah Szapiro

FROM THE FIRST TO THE FIFTH SCREEN : the evolution of narrative animation across contemporary screens.

Five m
ajor screens dominate our contemporary viewing experience: cinema, television, the computer, mobile and urban screens. Each plays a unique role in the way we perceive the animated film. The ubiquity of screens and saturation of information and media images in everyday life calls for a considered approach to narrative structure. To create meaning for audiences, it is necessary to consider the qualities of each screen and the relationship of author, narrative and audience to each other, and to the screen. This paper charts the evolution of narrative structure in contemporary animation as it travels through the major contemporary screens. It explores the shift in narrative structure required to create meaning across these screens and the possibilities that new screens present for narrative animation.

Biographical Statement:
Deborah Szapiro is a doctoral student and sessional lecturer in the School of Design, University of Technology, Sydney. Her research analyses narrative and aesthetic screen elements in the creation of meaningful audience interaction. Her aim is to provide a design methodology that can be applied to individual and multi platform projects for the five major contemporary screens and for future screens. In addition to pursuing an academic career, Deborah is a creative producer with a track record for producing award-winning animation. She is founder and festival director of the Japanime Film Festival which debuted as the main film event for the Sydney Olympic Arts Festival and is co-director of the Sydney International Animation Festival (SIAF).

Gregory Bennett

On the edge of the uncanny cliff: motion capture and animation in recent 3-D computer-generated photorealistic films.

th reference to the films The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), A Christmas Carol (2009) and Avatar (2009), this paper considers how these most recent examples of photorealistic 3-D animation can be seen to enact the complex (and controversial) relationship between motion capture and animation. Drawing on phenomenology, motion capture’s complex relationship to ‘indexical’ reality, and the conception of the ‘uncanny cliff’, the paper examines key examples of observable ‘ruptures’ in perceptual verisimilitude, and aims to identify and account for these through the embodied spectator’s success or failure to resolve and/or synthesize a range of indexical and ontological instabilities.

Biographical statement:
Gregory Bennett is a senior lecturer in Digital Design at AUT University, New Zealand, specializing in 3-D animation and visual effects practice and theory, including developments in motion capture and 3-D stereoscopic projection. He is currently undertaking PhD research which explores issues of embodiment and mimesis in the simulation of perceptual reality in 3D computer animation which combines photorealistic aesthetics with motion capture and stereoscopic projection. This proposed paper is a direct outcome of his core PhD research which is informed by both theoretical and practical investigation.

Nea Ehrlich

The Animated Documentary as Masking – When Exposure and Disguise Converge

paper considers the way documentary animation is used to produce a new form of knowledge about the actual world by recording and exposing elements of reality whilst partially visually disguising the material represented. Animation combined with live-action footage that depicts historical events in a novel manner has the ability to expose information and perspectives otherwise unknown that become part of the collective memory, a vital component of political and historical consciousness that constructs and transforms national identity. My paper features several works of contemporary artists and film-makers and draws upon concepts of animation theory, contemporary art, masking and masquerade, Brechtian theory, film philosophy, spectatorship and psychoanalysis.

Biographical statement:
Nea Ehrlich is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Art History at the University of Edinburgh. She is currently researching animation as a multi-faceted language of a fictitious-interpretive character to present reality, which is part of her PhD thesis about animation as masked representation of cultural identities. Nea was head of the Education Department at the Ashdod Museum of Contemporary Art in Israel and has taught widely about visual culture. Her primary research interests are animation theory, the animated documentary and animated representations of conflict, contemporary art and multi-cultural curatorial issues.

Birgitta Hosea

Drawing Animation

wing is a key component of ‘traditional’ practice in classical animation that is sometimes seen as an outmoded form lacking in relevance to a digital age. On the contrary, using digital tools and virtual materials is still seen as problematic by some animators schooled in traditional methods. In contemporary art, however, there is an explosion of experimentation with different tools, processes and paradigms and a resurgence of interest in drawing around issues of time, performance and materiality, which can be applied to a deeper consideration of drawn animation. [N.B. This paper will be an illustrated, abridged version of an article that I am currently in the final stages of writing for Animation: an Interdisciplinary Journal].

Biographical statement:
Birgitta Hosea is a digital artist, animator and Course Director of the Postgraduate Diploma in Character Animation, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London. She is the author of the Easy Guide to Flash series (Focal Press, 2004/2006) and has published articles on performance drawing, digital materiality, online 'readership', animation and performativity. She is a member of Drawn Together, University of the Arts London performance drawing research collective, and is currently engaged on a practice-based PhD at Central Saint Martins in animation and performance.

Miriam Harris

“Drawing Upon the Unconscious: Text and image in two animated films by Robert Breer and William Kentridge”

ert Breer and William Kentridge are both artists with international reputations, who make animated films that are typically projected within the context of the art gallery, or avant-garde film screenings. This presentation will explore two short animations in which words and drawings have an important presence: ‘Bang!’ (1986) by Breer, and ‘Automatic Writing’ (2003), by Kentridge. I will explore how both the semiotic and symbolic realms, as posited by Julia Kristeva, are manifested in these two animated films, making for a filmic experience that resonates with a viewer’s perceptions, as well as their unconscious.

Biographical statement:
Miriam Harris will be submitting her PhD for examination at the end of February, 2010. The title of her thesis is ‘Words that Move: How words and images are amalgamated within animation and the graphic novel’, and she has written chapters on Len Lye, Lynda Barry, Robert Breer and William Kentridge, graphic novels by the second generation after the Holocaust, and Michaela Pavlátová and Eastern European animation.
Miriam has had several essays published over the last five years that deal with the intertwining of text and image. She is a Senior Lecturer in Graphics and Animation at Unitec New Zealand.

Shannon Brownlee

“Masculinity Between Animation and Live Action, or, SpongeBob v. Hasselhoff”

: The juxtaposition of animated and live action male characters allows contemporary filmmakers to address the nature and “naturalness” of masculinity. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (Stephen Hillenburg, 2004) figures the continuity between polymorphously perverse childhood and heroic male adulthood as a continuity between animation and live action. By contrasting the animated SpongeBob with the grotesque, hypermasculinized and cartoonish live action body of David Hasselhoff, the film denaturalizes “real” masculinity and naturalizes the film's gleefully perverse animation. Ultimately, SpongeBob inspires broader questions about how the encounter between live action and animation allows us to re-imagine grotesque and naturalized forms of gender.

Biographical Statement: I am currently working on a book manuscript entitled A Passion for Adaptation: Experimental Film, Psychoanalysis, Gender. This explores film adaptation from a psychoanalytic perspective to argue that such concepts as the “original” and the “copy” are important objects of fantasy for spectators. “Masculinity Between Animation and Live Action, or, SpongeBob v. Hasselhoff” represents the beginning of a new research project on animated film and spectatorial fantasy. I teach Film Studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.

Edwin Carels

Chris Marker: animator and avatar

“If I
could, I would withdraw into Second Life forever, like Brandon on Tahiti.” (C.M.) The aim of this paper is to explore the ways in which Marker throughout his career has applied a particular notion of the animated image to his own creative process. From his well informed writing on animation in the early fifties, to the design of his alter ego - the cartoony cat Guillaume - to his recent avatar Murasaki on Second Life: Marker makes a strategic use of animation. Refusing the label of filmmaker, Marker – like any animator- plays upon the interval to trigger memory and generate his own, mythical time by accumulating individual images to provoke a subjective perception in the viewer.

Biographical Statement: I’ve started the third year of my phd-research for Ghent University. (The living line: animation and the visual arts - a media-archeological enquiry). The oeuvre of Marker will comprise a chapter in this. After having curated a large exhibition on Marker and written on him within the framework of the visual arts, I would very much appreciate the opportunity to test these ideas in the company of animation scholars. As a curator and filmprogrammer I apply an expanded notion of animation, working on exhibitions and projects with Robert Breer, The Quay Brothers, Priit Pärn etc. See also my presentation at the ‘Pervasive Animation Conference’ (Tate, March 2007)

Travel assistance - Emru Townsend Award


The deadline to apply for an Emru Townsend Award is March 14, to help with travel expenses for those presenting conference papers. Three grants, each in the amount of 200 GBP, will be awarded. At current exchange rates, this is roughly 230 EUR or US$315. To apply for a grant, all applications should specifically include:

1) a short bio (including academic/professional/student affiliation, and any roles/responsibilities you have held within S.A.S), from 100 to 500 words in length.

2) the conference paper abstract

3) a short description of the importance of the grant to you, why your research is original, and your particular need for monetary assistance, from 100 to 500 words in length.

Emru Townsend Awards are competitive for S.A.S. members. Applicants must not have been a recipient of an S.A.S. travel grant within the last three years. Travel grants will be awarded in person at the Edinburgh conference. If a person does not attend the conference, then the grant is forfeited.

The award recipients will be announced in April, at the decision of the selection committee. Applicants must send their request by email, adhering to the above 3 guidelines (bio, abstract, short essay about the request, either as text within an email or as an attached Microsoft Word .doc) to Tom Klein at

Patrick Crogan

The lively user: the Nintendo Wii system and the (re)animation of the player

he Nintendo Wii console is significant for putting the player into motion as part of the animated virtual world no longer simply ‘on screen’. The ‘blob-tracking’ technics of the Wiimote controller necessitate the becoming (re)animated of the player as provider of gestural input in response to the game challenges. The minigame packages (such as Warioware: Smooth Moves (Nintendo, 2007) exemplify this mobilising of a new gestural program of interaction. They experiment with a whole range of new movements readable by the system and herald a new phase of the materialisation of what could be called virtual spatio-physicality.

Biographical statement: Patrick Crogan teaches film and media at the School of Creative Arts, University of the West of England, Bristol. He has published numerous essays on film, new media, animation and critical theories of technology in anthologies and journals including the Journal of Animation Studies, Games and Culture, Angelaki, Theory, Culture & Society, Film-Philosophy and Culture Machine. He is on the Executive Board of the Digital Games Research Association and is chair of the Play Research Group at UWE. He is currently on research leave considering post-cinematic forms of media temporalization.

Irina Chiaburu

Subversive strategies in Soviet animation of Brezhnev period: Andrei Khrzhanovky’s “In the World of Fables” (1973)

The cu
ltural pluralism that surfaced with the onset of Glasnost’ raises the interesting question of whether Stagnation might be somewhat of a misnomer for what was happening in the artistic and cultural life during Leonid Brezhnev’s administration. Although his regime tried its best to “tighten the screws” by increasing censorial control over cultural production, it couldn’t revert the process of cultural and social transformation set in motion by Khrushchev’s Thaw. Instead, it produced a milieu for a fascinating dialectic between authors and the State. Applying Linda Hutcheon’s theory of irony to Andrei Khrzhanovsky’s film “In the world of Fables” (1973), I would like to demonstrate how this dialectic has affected the development of subversively potent trends in the language of Soviet animation.

Biographical statement: The proposed paper is a part of my PhD dissertation: “Ideology, subversion and Soviet cartoons during Brezhnev’s ‘Stagnation’”, which I hope to complete in summer 2011. My research interests at the moment are subversion and critical discourses in the field of cultural production in particular visual arts, cinema and animation, as well as the role of the artist in such production. My long term interests are in animation history, theory and method.